Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Customer-Centric Content: 10 Do's & 10 Do Not's.

It's no secret that if you want to engage your customers, you need customer-centric content. Business people, writers, and marketers are all getting on board with this. But what does customer-centric content look like? And, right now, I'm not talking about the medium or the delivery channel or the content provider. Sure, social media makes it easier to have a conversation with your customers, and customer-generated content is inherently customer-centric... but what about the copy that your company writes? With our ingrained habits of talking about ourselves, our company, and our key benefits, we're not always as good at writing from the customer's perspectives as we'd like.

Here are some tips to keep you focused.

Do Not:

  1. Write about how wonderful your company is. It's not credible coming from you.
  2. Use a gazillion wonderfully exciting adjectives to describe how unique and revolutionary your amazing new products and services are.
  3. Use many words at all.
  4. Focus on what you sell.
  5. Be too stuffy and serious.
  6. Expect your customers to come to your website...just because.
  7. Expect to get it right the first time.
  8. Interrupt your customers with irrelevant content when they're trying to do something.
  9. Try to say more than one thing at one time.
  10. Assume your customers are just like you.
  1. Demonstrate that you know who your customers are, without telling them. 
  2. Demonstrate how wonderful your company is, without talking about it.
  3. Write as if you're a person, wanting to build a relationship with your customers.
  4. Reflect your customers motivations, emotions, and life-context in your writing. 
  5. Provide content that is relevant to both your customers, and your business. 
  6. Be generous in sharing your knowledge in your area of expertise.
  7. Get customer feedback, rewrite, revise, repeat.
  8. Make products and service details easy to find and make the buying process easy.
  9. Publish your content where your customers hang out. 
  10. Focus on your industry expertise and customer needs.
Any other good ideas? Let me know.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Content Strategy or Content Marketing? I'm Confused!

In the past few weeks I've had a lot of people asking me about the difference between content strategy and content marketing. If you remove the first word from each label, it's pretty clear: content strategy is about STRATEGY and content marketing is about MARKETING. But both of them focus on content to get the job done. Let's look a bit closer...

A Content Strategist evaluates business and customer needs and provides strategic direction on how improved content and content processes can help to achieve specific objectives. The focus is to provide direction on how to improve content to meet measurable business goals.

A Content Marketer evaluates the market to find ways to engage with customers and prospective customers through relevant content. The focus is to attract and retain customers and promote the brand. 

So, clearly there's overlap. The word "content" is in each of them for good reason. And frequently a content strategy contains a content marketing component which in turn requires a more defined content marketing strategy. And THIS is why people get confused!

Make sense?